Ontology driven geographic information retrieval
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The theory of modern information retrieval processes must be improved to meet parallel growth and efficiency in its dependent hardware architectures. The growth in data sources facilitated by hardware improvements must be conversant with parallel growth at the user end of the information retrieval paradigm, encompassing both an increasing demand for data services and a widening user base. Contemporary sources refer to such growth as three dimensional, in reference to the expected and parallel growth in the key areas of hardware processing power, demand from current users of information services and an increase in demand via an extended user base consisting of institutions and organizations who are not characteristically defined by their use of geographic information. This extended user base is expected to grow due to the demand to utilise and incorporate geographic information as part of competitive business processes, to fill the need for advertising and spatial marketing demographics. The vision of the semantic web as such is the challenge of managing integration between diverse and increasing data sources and diverse and increasing end users of information. Whilst data standardisation is one means of achieving this vision at the source end of the information flow, it is not a solution in a free market of ideas. Information in its elemental form should be accessible regardless of the domain of its creation.In an environment where the users and sources are continually growing in scope and depth, the management of data via precise and relevant information retrieval requires techniques which can integrate information seamlessly between machines and users regardless of the domain of application or data storage methods. This research is the study of a theory of geographic information structure which can be applied to all aspects of information systems development, governing at a conceptual level the representation of information to meet the requirements of inter machine operability as well as inter user operability. This research entails a thorough study of the use of ontology from theoretical definition to modern use in information systems development and retrieval, in the geographic domain. This is a study examining how the use of words to describe geographic features are elements which can form a geographic ontology and evaluates WordNet, an English language ontology in the form of a lexical database as a structure for improving geographic information recall on Gazetteers. The results of this research conclude that WordNet can be utilised to as a methodology for improving search results in geographic information retrieval processes as a source for additional query terms, but only on a narrow user domain.
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